Musée Marmottan Monet features an impressive collection of over 300 Impressionistic and postimpressionist artworks of such prominent artists as Claude Monet (with the world’s largest collection of his works), Edgar Degas or Édouard Manet. It also houses Napoleonic era art and furniture as well as Italian and Flemish primitive paintings.
The museum houses the artworks of the most renowned impressionists, such as Claude Monet, Berthe Morisot, Edgar Degas, Édouard Manet, Alfred Sisley, Camille Pissarro, Paul Gauguin, Paul Signac and Pierre-Auguste Renoir.
Apart from the most notable artworks in the museum, namely Monet’s ‘Impression, Sunrise’ – the painting from which the Impressionist movement took its name, the museum houses a Wildenstein Collection of illuminated manuscripts, the Jules and Paul Marmottan collection of Napoleonic era art and furniture and Italian and Flemish primitive paintings.
The museum building was originally a hunting lodge. Although it was designed for Napoleonic era art, the nature of the museum changed with two major donations and nowadays the museum houses a huge collection of impressionistic masterpieces. The museum is also famous because of a spectacular robbery which occurred on the 28th of October 1985.
The museum building, which originally was a hunting lodge for the Duke of Valmy, was purchased by Jules Marmottan in 1882. He left it later to his son Paul Marmottan. Marmottan moved into the lodge and having an interest in the Napoleonic era, he expanded his father’s collection of paintings, furniture and bronzes. Marmottan left his home and collection to the Académie des Beaux-Arts (a French learnt society formed in 1795; it is one of the five academies constituting the Institut de France). In 1934 The Académie opened up the house and collection as the ‘Museum Marmottan’. Although originally the museum was designed for items from the First Empire (the empire of Napoleon I in the early 19th century), the nature of the museum’s collection began to change with the two major donators. In 1957, Victorine Donop de Monchy gave the museum an important collection of impressionistic works of Manet, Monet, Pissaro, Sisley and Renoir. In 1966, the second son of Claude Monet, Michel Monet, left the museum his own collection of his father’s works, thus, creating the world’s largest collection of Monet’s paintings. Jacque Carlu, then curator of the museum, built a special exhibition space for the Monet collection in the lower level of the museum. The large, open room allows visitors to see a progression of Monet’s style, as well as to view his canvases both up close and from afar. One of the most notable pieces in the museum is Monet’s ‘Impression, Sunrise’ (Impression, Soleil Levant) – the painting from which the Impressionist movement took its name.
The museum is also famous because of a spectacular robbery that occurred on the 28th of October 1985, when during daylight hours five masked gunmen with pistols aimed at the security and visitors entered the museum and stole nine paintings from the collection. Among them were ‘Impression, Sunrise’ by Claude Monet. The total value of the stolen paintings was estimated at $12 million. A tip-off led to the arrest in Japan of a Yakuza gangster named Shuinichi Fujikuma and a later recovery of the stolen paintings in December 1990.